HudsonAlpha to host virtual 5K for childhood genetic disorders research

Run your 5K anywhere and anytime April 6-20

February 23, 2021 (Huntsville, Ala.) – The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology will kick off the virtual Double Helix Dash 5K April 6, 2021.

Presented by HudsonAlpha and the Huntsville Track Club, the Double Helix Dash supports childhood genetic disorders research. This year, the Institute celebrates the tenth anniversary of this unique 5K.

For ten years, the event has been raising awareness of how HudsonAlpha scientists use the power of genomics to find answers for patients and families in Alabama and beyond.

“The major goal of our work is to use genome sequencing to identify the causes of symptoms that are found in children with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Greg Cooper, PhD, faculty investigator at HudsonAlpha.

Researchers are ending the diagnostic odyssey for patients like Anna Brooke Ainsworth, Violet Monson, Tiana Vega and Jessi Watts, all diagnosed through HudsonAlpha’s childhood genomics program, which aims to diagnose children and infants with developmental delays through the use of genomic sequencing.

HudsonAlpha honored them as Childhood Champions at previous Double Helix Dash events.

“Many things in the past year have looked differently, but that doesn’t mean that children and families don’t need our help,” said Anna Kirkpatrick, Double Helix Dash coordinator. “We hope the public, regardless of where they are, will join us for the tenth annual Double Helix Dash and support childhood genomics research. The advantage of hosting a virtual race is more people can participate; not just those in North Alabama”

Due to the pandemic, the Double Helix Dash transitioned to a virtual format to allow runners and walkers, veterans and first-timers, to participate according to their own timeline without worrying about crowds and potential exposure to COVID-19. The virtual race will begin April 6 and wrap up April 20.

Here’s how you can participate in the virtual race:

-Register to run
-Engage – Join us on social media and stay connected via email. Search Facebook using Double Helix Dash 2021 for frames and use the hashtags #DHD2021 and #DHD10Years to let others know about your race.
-Consider fundraising – While fundraising is optional, it is a fun way to connect with friends and family while supporting a great cause. New for this year’s double helix dash, you can fundraise or create a team. When you sign up for a team, you will have the opportunity to win fun prizes!
-Run your 5k (3.1 miles). While registrants may participate anytime between April 6-20, 2021, we encourage everyone to join us on race day this April 6th!
-Share your accomplishments – Show off your running selfies and photos using #DHD2021. Celebrate your accomplishment and wear your Double Helix Dash t-shirt!

To learn more and register for the Double Helix Dash, visit

Check out the 2021 promotional video featuring Alabama families and patients who received a diagnosis thanks to HudsonAlpha. 

About HudsonAlpha: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit institute dedicated to developing and applying scientific advances to health, agriculture, learning, and commercialization. Opened in 2008, HudsonAlpha’s vision is to leverage the synergy between discovery, education, medicine, and economic development in genomic sciences to improve the human condition around the globe. The HudsonAlpha biotechnology campus consists of 152 acres nestled within Cummings Research Park, the nation’s second largest research park. The state-of-the-art facilities co-locate nonprofit scientific researchers with entrepreneurs and educators. HudsonAlpha has become a national and international leader in genetics and genomics research and biotech education and fosters more than 40 diverse biotech companies on campus. To learn more about HudsonAlpha, visit